Walker Percy Wednesday 114

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“Thus, these word signs have been evacuated, deprived of meaning something real. Real persons. Not so with Jews.”

*****

“Since the Jews were the original chosen people of God, a tribe of people who are still here, they are a sign of God’s presence which cannot be evacuated. Try to find a hole in that proof!”

*****

“Try to subsume Jews under the classes of mankind, Caucasians, Semites, whatever. Go ahead, try it.”

*****

“Read St. Paul! It is clear that their inability to accept Jesus was not only foreordained but altogether reasonable and is not to be held against them. Salvation comes from the Jews, as holy scripture tells us. They remain the beloved, originally chosen people of God.”

*****

“Jews are naturally skeptical, hardheaded, and, after all, what Jesus was proposing to them was a tall order.”

*****

“How many times in your work have you encountered someone who claims to be Napoleon, the Messiah, Hitler, the Devil?”
“Often.”
“How often have you encountered a Jewish patient who claimed to be the Messiah or Napoleon?”
“Not often.”

*****

“Even an anti-Semite! Did you ever notice that an anti-Semite who despises Jews actually believes them deep down—that’s why he hates them!—and isn’t that the reason he despises them?”

*****

“The Jews as a word sign cannot be assimilated under a class, category, or theory. No subsuming Jews! Not even by the Romans.”

*****

“The Holocaust was a consequence of the sign which could not be evacuated.”

*****

“You are a member of the first generation of doctors in the history of medicine to turn their backs on the oath of Hippocrates and kill millions of old useless people, unborn children, born malformed children, for the good of mankind—and to do so without a single murmur from one of you. Not a single letter of protest in the august New England Journal of Medicine. And do you know what you’re going to end up doing? You a graduate of Harvard and a reader of The New York Times and a member of the Ford Foundation’s Program for the Third World? Do you know what is going to happen to you?”

*****

“Do you know where tenderness always leads?”
“No, where?” I ask, watching the stranger with curiosity.
“To the gas chamber.”
“I see.”
“Tenderness is the first disguise of the murderer.”

*****

“If you are a theorist of Mankind like Rousseau or Skinner, who believes he understands man’s brain and in the solitariness of his study or laboratory writes books on the subject, you are also probably harmless and might even contribute to human knowledge, right?”
“Right.”
“But if you put the two together, a lover of Mankind and a theorist of Mankind, what you’ve got now is Robespierre or Stalin or Hitler and the Terror, and millions dead for the good of Mankind. Right?”

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